It’s Almost Here…The New BERNINA 97 Foot!

As many of you know Barb, Jim, Sheila, Ina and myself were in Nashville about a week ago to attend BERNINA University. “BU” as it’s called is BERNINA’s annual conference for retail dealers and is where they introduce new products.  This … Continue reading

Quilt of the Month, April edition. Carpenters Star.

It’s that time again! As many of you know April’s quilt has been hanging up at our Williamsville Location for a few weeks- thank you all for your kind words about this quilt! For April I chose the Carpenters Star, Bali … Continue reading

To Market, to market! The Bayport Bag in Botanics.

It’s the time of year here at Aurora Sewing Center when minds start to wander towards Quilt Market. We attend the International Quit Market in the spring, although it’s held 2 times per year- we don’t attend the fall market … Continue reading

Science Fair- February’s Quilt of the Month

Two quilts down and ten to go! I am still excited to be doing my “Year of Quilts” project and am thankful to have a job where I stress about what quilt I will make next!  Believe me, this job has many stressful aspects, but I am truly lucky that I love my job, and to be able to make things and write about it as part of my job…amazing!

Science Fair Finished

So on to February’s Quilt of the Month.  As some of you may already know, I chose “Science Fair” by Jaybird Quilts for this month. I really wanted to try and do something different that I had never done before.  Believe it or not, I have not worked with any specialty rulers before and I certainly have not made anything with hexagons. This quilt utilizes a ruler also designed by Jaybird Quilts called the “Hex N More”.

This is a great ruler and Julie at Jaybird Quilts has a ton of awesome quilts designed using this ruler. I’ve got plans for making another one up my sleeve. To make this quilt you start by cutting strips and making pairs of those strips into stripsets.sciencefairStrips

science fair cutting You use one end of the ruler to cut those strips into little wedges, one strip set makes two opposing colors of the hexagon. For example, this blue and yellow set will make one hex with a blue outside and a yellow inside and one hex with a yellow outside and a blue inside.

science fair hex layout

Ta-Da! It’s so tempting to sew these pretty little wedges into complete hexagons (which I was this close to doing) but if you stop and read the directions (something I have to often remind myself to do) you learn that you only get to sew them into half hexagons, and the gratification of seeing them all done will have to be delayed a bit.

The next part of cutting involves flipping the Hex N More around and using the fatter end to cut the background half hexies. For some reason I did not photograph this process as I was having a battle with myself about the background color. Here is my original color choice for the background which I was totally committed to at the time:

science fair blue trialBut after I got the whole thing cut and up on my design wall, something just didn’t click. So I tried out another option:science fair pink trial

Yikes! I promise it wasn’t quite so harsh in real life, but obviously the pink wasn’t working either. In the end I settled on this:sciencefair layoutI ended up using a text print from Allison Glass’s “Sun Print” collection for a few reasons. First, I love these prints and I loved how it lightened up my quilt. It reminds me of a summer day with all the hot citrusy colors.   Another reason I made this choice is that I wanted to show that you can use a print like this as a background fabric and that it would read like a neutral. These patterns are nothing to be afraid of! They are much more versatile than you might think. To see more of Allison’s “Sun Print” line click HERE. We carry many of these prints at both locations of the Aurora Sewing Center.

Once you get your layout decided on, you can start to sew your pieces together. The neat thing about this pattern is that it’s all done in long strips.science fair sewing rows togther

Julie even explains just how to line up your half hexies to make them all behave when sewing them into strips.sciencefair lining upYou can see that the background fabric has the tip of the point snipped off where you line it up with the colored piece, which makes for a perfect match when it’s all pressed. This quilt calls for you to press all of your seams open, which is not something that I normally do, but it helped reduce bulk when sewing in those areas where all of the little wedge points come together. I didn’t do any stitching in the ditch on this quilt so I’m really not worried about those areas becoming weaker because of the seams being open.

After your strips are all ready it’s time to sew them all together. I was excited to try out a new kind of pin we got into the store, Clover Fork Pins.fork pin These little guys are pretty handy for helping make sure all your points end up matching. I will often put a pin on either side of my seams to make sure they stay lined up, and these are two pins in one!Science-Fair-Fork-PinsI haven’t thrown out my standard glass head pins or anything, but these guys are pretty cool!

Science-Fair-MarkingI did a little TV magic here and voila! Here’s the whole top assembled and spray basted! This was the first quilt I have ever spray basted and while I do not mind the pinning process, I have to admit, spray basting rocks! I used THIS video as guidance and sprayed with another new product we have at the store, Mettler Web Bond.web bondAs you can see in that picture above, I prepared myself well for quilting this quilt by marking my straight lines with a blue water erasable marker.  As I’ve said before, one of my goals in this Quilt of the Month project is to learn new things and with this quilt, one of the BIG things I’ve learned is that if you want  your quilting to stand out, then picking a more subtle background is key (remember how happy I was with my background fabric choice?)!  I still love the fabric I chose, but it’s pattern combined with the low loft batting I used (Quilters Dream Blend) makes it very hard to see the custom quilting I did. As soon as I started quilting I knew it was not going to be as pronounced as I would have liked, but I considered it good free motion practice and finished it that way anyhow! Here’s a finished product picture taken with the contrast tweaked a little bit so that you can see the quilting.Science-Fair-Finished

This quilt is currently hanging at our Williamsville location and because of the way the light hits it, the quilting is almost invisible.  But I know it’s there, and now you do too, so come see it and Ooh and Ahh over it for me –OK?  All in all, this quilt was a BLAST to make and quilt and Julie’s pattern was wonderfully written and easy to follow. I highly recommend it and all of  the Jaybird Quilts designs.  So there you have it, February’s quilt of the month! Want a sneak peek of March? Here you go…

march preview

I can’t wait to show it to you!

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Modern Log Cabin…Quilt 1 in a year of Quilts!

So here we are at the very first post in “a Year of Quilts”! Click HERE to read about my lofty goal to make 12 quilts this year.

A YEAR OF QUILTS LOGOI’ve been inspired by this fun line of fabric by Mark Cesarik that we picked out a while back called “Summer Camp“.  It was a line that I was intrigued by, perhaps because my husband is an avid outdoorsman and I have learned to enjoy and embrace the rustic style of fishing, hunting and camping motifs.

Summer Camp by Mark Cesarik

Summer Camp by Mark Cesarik

When a new collection of modern “basics” arrived last month that included some great prints by Joel Dewberry (the line is called True Colors), I knew I had to combine some of each of these collections into a “Modern Rustic Log Cabin” quilt.

Some of Joel Dewberry's True Colors

Some of Joel Dewberry’s True Colors

 The third part of the puzzle was a quilt of the cover of a great book we have at the shop Called “Modern Designs for Classic Quilts” by Kelly Biscopink  and Andrea Johnson.

Modern Designs for Classic Quilts

This bright log cabin quilt has been calling to me for quite some time and one snowy evening at the shop inspiration struck and I quickly pulled together a pile of “outdoorsy” fabrics and two of our fabulous new textured solids from Andover for the neutrals. If you haven’t seen our textured solid collection stop by the shop and check these out.

These textured solids are 100% cotton and are great to work with. They have an almost nubby texture and add some real dimension to your quilting. I anticipated that they might be tough to work with but I had no issues what so ever with raveling or stretch. I chose a cream and a white as the background fabrics for this quilt.

Confession alert! I did not photograph the piecing process of making this quilt as I had not yet decided to embark on the Year of Quilts project. The cutting process was quite straight forward, just lots and lots of 2.5″ strips and a few 4″ squares. The pattern designer doesn’t re-invent the wheel with the construction of the log cabin block, you start in the middle and work your way around! I hope you’ll forgive the lack of assembly photos but what is done is done!

Included with this Year of Quilts goal of mine is to QUILT all of my quilts. I am lucky enough to have a Baby Lock Tiara at home and am truly loving the quilting aspect of making a quilt. Often the process of piecing a quilt can be meditative and spending the quiet time piecing the quilt will often tell me what sort of quilting it needs to have.

Pinning the Quilt

When I’m pinning at home I’ll pin on the work table in my husband’s shop so get used to the view of equipment and tools in the background.  How many of you pin on the dining room table, kitchen floor, or out in the garage? I love hearing how/where people pin! Some people HATE the pinning process, but I don’t mind it that much…it’s another meditative process. Who knew I was so Zen about quilting!

log cabin quilting detail

When this quilt was talking to me, it was begging me for wood grain quilting. It was my first attempt at quilting wood grain but I just went for it and as long as you don’t look too close, I think it turned out pretty darn good! Fast forward in time about 10 hours of quilting wood grain ( does anyone else feel like the quilting is never going to end, but as soon as you finish it is all SO worth it?) and it was time to hang the quilt at our East Aurora Location. Drumroll please…….!!!

Modern Log cabin Finishedmodern log cabin detail

What do you think? Do you like it as much as I do? If you are in the East Aurora area I hope you’ll come see it in person! So there “He” is, Quilt #1 in the Year of Quilts! It’s definitely a “He” don’t you think?

That will do it for January’s installment of the Year of Quilts and to keep you coming back, here is a sneak peek of February’s quilt!

science fair teaser

What have you finished in January?

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A Year of Quilts!

I won’t mention the fact that it’s been a few weeks (ah-hem….months) since I last blogged.  I’m hoping you will all forgive me. You know how it goes…time gets away from you. In any case, and without further fanfare I’d like to present my grand plan for 2014. A YEAR OF QUILTS LOGOMy PLAN (you all will hold me accountable right?) is to finish a quilt for the shop every month in 2014! I guess this is not an uncommon resolution for quilters, because as I told people of my resolution I got a few “Me too!” replies. I’d LOVE to get your ideas for the kind of quilts you’d like me to do. I told myself that I would push myself to learn something new with as many of the quilts as possible. Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board where I’m collecting inspiration.

pinterest-clickI’ll let you in on a little secret- I’ve actually finished my first quilt for the year! I’m not going to show it to you quite yet but I hope you’ll come back and check it out in my next post. In the mean time I’ll leave you with this sneak peek!  I bet some of you may have seen it up at our East Aurora location.Log Cabin

So…weigh in! What kind of quilts would you like to see done in this great Year of Quilts? Would you like to join me?  Have you ever resolved to do something similar?  I can’t wait to hear…

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What I’m working on- “Cross It” Quilt from Zen Chic (Part 2)

Welcome back! Yesterday I shared with you part 1 of my “Cross It” Quilt…hopefully you haven’t forgotten already, you can check out part 1 of this post here….but the pattern looks like this:

Zen Chic So as I mentioned, I could see this finished quilt in my mind, so I had a pretty good Idea of how I wanted to quilt it. I knew I wanted to extend the “sticks” into the borders, and add a few horizontal “ghost sticks” to balance all the vertical lines.

2013-02-22 18.53.50Using my Frixion heat erasable pen I marked all the extended lines by continuing out the pieced sticks, and then started pinning! I decided that I would not draw on my horizontal lines until after I quilted the vertical lines so that I could really place them where I wanted  them.

2013-02-22 19.01.38

 I tried to pin only in the “negative” space between my “sticks” so that I would not have to take out too many pins as I quilted my straight lines. After pinning for what felt like forever, it was time to quilt! For those of you who think you need a large machine to quilt a large scale quilt, you don’t! I used  my BERNINA 430 to make this entire quilt. It would certainly be easier to quilt on a bigger machine (my dream machine is the Baby Lock Tiara) but it can certainly be done!

2013-02-25 08.43.35

Quilting the straight lines was actually harder for me than the free motion portion, and once that was out of the way- the fun began! I knew that I wanted to do something curvy to counterbalance the angular nature of the piecing, but I needed a little inspiration. Some of you may be familiar with Angela Walters and her awesome book “Free Motion Quilting”

free motion quilting

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photo from Angela Walters

Her book is FULL of inspirational ideas, and when I saw a design called “sea foam” I knew I wanted to do a play on it.

cross it quilting

I took the swirls and bubbles and swapped them out for bubbles and swirls! As I quilted I realized how much I loved how it was coming out! I just took one section at s time, and slowly but surely it got done! Of course when I thought I was all done, I laid it out on the floor and I had forgotten a chunk…so back to the machine I went!

When I was FINALLY done quilting and It was time for binding I knew I wanted to have a scrappy style binding, so I took a pile of my leftover fabric from the quilt top cut it up and sewed it all back together into a rainbow of binding. Here’s where I heard Barb K.’s voice in my head. If you know Barb K. you know that she is the queen of “tips and tricks”. Somewhere along the line Barb had told me about a neat way to manage all that binding.

binding roll

You’ll have to accept that you may look a little silly, but if you wrap your binding around an empty toilet paper tube and then string it around your neck like a necklace, you will have a much easier time managing the binding process.

binding necklace

and finally…here’s what you’ve been holding your breath to see, the finished product!

2013-03-05 12.53.492013-03-05 12.53.58

2013-03-04 09.24.37I’m so proud of this finished product, I hope you like it too! What are you working on?

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